Cry God for Harry, England, and St. George. The people of Scotland have decided that the Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is to remain a United Kingdom: with 2,001,926 votes in favor of union and 1,617,989 votes in favor of independence. Many reacted gleefully: Daniel Hannan writes in The Telegraph, “I don’t much care at the moment whether God is Scottish, and is glowering approvingly at Great Britain from over His bands and Geneva gown, or whether He is English and is raising a glass of sherry with an absent-minded smile. At least my country is intact.” Scotland has refused independence in favor of Union with England and Wales (leaving N.I. aside for the moment). Yet it was never really about independence.
Surely anyone watching Braveheart and Mel Gibson with blue paint on his face, wielding his sword and slicing the necks of English soldiers, may feel some sympathy for Scottish nationalism (Disney’s Brave is a much better portrayal of Scotland, actually). Yet the dangerous tendency of nationalism is often to not see what is and is not in the national interest. That is why this vote was never actually about independence—it was about remaining intact monetarily, militarily, and culturally with England and Wales in its 300 year union, or becoming another Northern European EU state that would be under even greater bureaucratic and undemocratic control from Brussels and Strasbourg. The national interest of Scotland, as it is with the rest of the U.K., is not to be a German-dominated state. It is to be part of this centuries old union—which produced some of the great authors, artists, clergyman, philosophers, and empires in human history—and free from the E.U. technocracy.
It is certainly pleasing to see a country like Scotland (and it already was a country in its own right, with its own parliament and unique culture) embrace its heritage – or in the case of the Kilt, embrace this 19th century innovation. However, it is even greater to see the people of Scotland make the right choice that the next 300 years of future British generations will not be disinherited of this past 300 year experiment of cultural pluralism—a wondrous and rich family united through depression and war, decline and glory, empire and euroskepticism.
Not everyone might appreciate this union. The British political class certainly does not: “Better Together” is the best slogan they could imagine! As Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry recently wrote in The Week, the importance of nationhood is what “political elites don’t understand about Scotland’s push for independence. The mandarins of the European Union see the nation-state as an anachronism.” How wrong they are. Yet, Gobry notes, “political correctness has made reminding Britons of this utterly impossible. In many places, particularly in Europe, being proud of your nation and your heritage is considered at least gauche, but mostly fascistic, even racist.”
Hopefully this vote teaches that love of country is a civic virtue and that God saves Britain.